REUTERS

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has summoned the head of the Slovak embassy in Ukraine to issue a protest over what Ukraine was politically incorrect statements by the Slovak Prime Minister, Igor Matovic, suggesting "exchanging" the Zakarpattia [Transcarpathia] region in Ukraine for the access to the Russian vaccine.

"Regardless of the motives, genre or context, the comments by the head of the Slovak government that directly affect the territorial integrity of Ukraine are categorically unacceptable, and negatively affect the friendly and good-neighborly atmosphere of Ukrainian-Slovak relations," the MFA said in a commentary released Wednesday, March 3.

The Foreign Ministry emphasizes that such "jokes" are especially offensive to the Ukrainian people in the current conditions of Russian aggression and the occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, as well as part of the Ukrainian Donbas, by Russia.

Besides, Ukrainian diplomats add, the inappropriate comments by the head of the Slovak government are discordant with Slovakia's consistent position in support of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.

"The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry demands an official apology from the Prime Minister of Slovakia, Igor Matovic, for the politcally incorrect comments," MFA Ukraine said.

Ukrainian Ambassador Yuriy Mushka for his part has also delivered a corresponding demarche at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic.

Read alsoSBU reacts to Ukraine's map without Crimea, with 'LPR/DPR' posted by pro-Russian MP (Photo)Matovic "joke": Background

Speaking on the air of Slovakia's Radio Express, the host asked Matovic what he had promised Russia in exchange for the supply of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine.

Matovic immediately answered: "Transcarpathian [Zakarpattia] Ukraine", before claiming he had not in fact promised anything, at the same time stressing the need for his country to be covered with vaccines.

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that the comment by Matovic spoils Ukraine-Slovakia relations.